Bluegrass music has certainly benefited from modern advances in live sound reinforcement, as has every form of stage entertainment. If you’ve followed the music for many years, you’ll have noticed how much better the sound has gotten since the first festivals in the 1960s – and how much smaller a footprint contemporary speaker arrays require near the stage.
Add that to the ease of use of in-ear monitor systems, and bluegrass and acoustic groups are generally able to get on and off stage quickly at concerts and festivals giving more music to the audience and fewer headaches to audio crews. So much so, that some top acts like Ricky Skaggs and Dailey & Vincent bring their own microphones, board, and even speakers and can change out almost a complete sound system in short order.
One place where bluegrass has been slow to adopt new technology, though, is headset microphones. Most major groups are wearing monitors in their ears, but the use of the slender microphones attached to a headset that are common in country and pop music are quite rare in our community. Outside of The Darrell Webb Band and a few shows in Branson or Pigeon Forge, they are nowhere to be seen.
Part of that may be the tradition of singing around a single microphone, itself a throwback to the old days, and the more pleasing sound of harmony vocals that blend before being picked up by a sound system. But cost and convenience are undoubtedly part of the mix as well.
Galaxy Audio, one of our beloved sponsors, has introduced two new headset microphones designed to bring the cost of these units down to the range of the average performing band. Their HSM8 dual earbud model and single ear ESM8 are being offered for a street price of $199.99. Both are available with either a unidirectional or omnidirectional condenser microphone elements, with detachable cables designed to fit into most popular wireless microphone transmitters. Custom wiring can be provided to make them work with any transmitter on the market.
The omni unit boasts an impressive frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz, and the uni 50Hz-16kHz. The uni has an impedance of 1000 ohms, and 1800 ohms for the omni. Both have adjustable mic booms and are available in either beige or black.
Offering this headset regardless of number of earbuds or microphone element under $200 should put them in the comfort zone of a lot of bluegrass artists. Especially if you are considering a move to in-ear systems, looking into combo units like these makes sense.
More information can be found on the Galaxy web site to contact your favorite audio systems retailer.